I survived parents' evening!

Parents' evenings are a major part of the school year. Helen Cluett explains how she survived hers.

Primary Teacher, Cambusbarron Primary School, Stirling

Any fear I felt about parents' evenings was a mere shadow of what I had felt some 14 or so weeks previously, when I had gone out and collected my class for the first time.

That was nerve wracking, but the survival of the experience and the following weeks have left me feeling able to take on anything, even parents' evenings.

Planning ahead

To be honest, I wasn't too worried about parents' evening as I had a P2 class and I had already met most parents at the start or the end of the day.

Despite many stories to the contrary, I found them to be a very normal bunch without gnashing teeth and a million complaints.

During the week prior to the parents' evenings, our excellent weekly probationer's training equipped us with strategies on how to deal with every type of parent under the sun and also several techniques to remove parents from the room when their time was up.

I was given much advice about this particular aspect, but found that P2 size seats was enough to ensure that parents did not become too comfy and move in for the night.

The event was not exactly up there with my top ten things to do of an evening, but I did enjoy the experience; it was very positive and encouraging.

After pacing up and down my room waiting for the first appointment to start, anxiously checking that the room was tidy and each child had work up, I found the time passed quickly and without a hitch.

I even managed to overrun by just ten minutes, which has to be a miracle. Not one parent checked out my room to see if it was tidy and full of educational stimulation, or came through the door with a tick list as I had been warned they might.

Sharing information

I had left a few jotters outside and a small report that each child had made, detailing what they enjoyed and what they thought they should work on.

I discovered most parents laughing about the stories, many of which, it emerged, contained a great deal of imagination and little truth.

Most parents were just anxious to hear that their child was happy and had friends. They were well aware of any slight areas needing attention such as too much chatting and a lack of concentration and few were interested in class position or test results.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was not the female dominated occasion that I thought it might be. A number of dads came, all anxious to hear how their child was doing and what they could do to help.

All my appointments turned up and I was left feeling as if I was making a difference. Result!